Hello and welcome to this week’s edition of Wedding Wednesday! We discuss a different topic regarding wedding planning or wedding photography each week AND even discuss the topic LIVE at noon on our Instagram account HERE. If you can’t join us live, the replay is available on our story for 24 hours so be sure to catch it!
Today, I wanted to discuss destination weddings. Why people choose them? Recommendations on resorts? Bringing your own US vendors? We KNOW you have questions and we have the answers!
What exactly IS a destination wedding? Well, I have a bride finishing her residency in TX, the mother of the bride living in FL and they are planning a wedding in the NC mountains. That makes their big day a destination wedding. The venue is not home to either the bride or groom and guests will be potentially using the wedding weekend as a travel opportunity. Oftentimes these are Caribbean island resorts or sunny spots in Mexico but, the Carolinas host countless destination weddings too on our own beaches and in our gorgeous mountains. Travel is a huge component and planning these wedding weekends is trickier than a local wedding for sure!
Why do brides choose a destination wedding? Lots of reasons!
1.It will drastically reduce the guest count. Back in 2011, I had a bride from a well known family in NC. Her father owned a very large company and they had an extensive social network of family friends. The bride knew that hosting the wedding in Charlotte would equal a guest count of 400 people and that was not the wedding she dreamed of. So, she decided to get married in New York and make the weekend a true adventure for all of their guests. She knew that adding the travel component would eliminate any “I-don’t-really-know-you-but-my-parents-felt-obligated-to-invite-you” guests from coming. I mean, the family’s CPA probably would have rolled up at Quail Hollow Club but he wasn’t jumping on a plane to NYC! So, the guest count became a modest 100 and the bride was much happier with a more intimate setting.
2. The couple is adventurous. In 2014, Danielle and Joe wanted to host a FUN weekend. Not just an 8 hour shindig but a throw-down, party like a rockstar EXPERIENCE!!! There was a welcome party, pool party, wedding, reception, pool days and beach time all rolled int 4 days. The bride and groom got to enjoy the company of their friends for several days instead of just one and they made so many amazing memories that weekend in the Dominican Republic.
3. The total cost is often cheaper overseas than locally. That might shock you but all-inclusive resorts are often cheaper than local ballrooms dripping with chandeliers. Many resorts offer “off season” specials and deals to attract more tourists. You might be shocked at the affordability of tropical destinations if you take the time to compare them to local venues. One of our Mexico brides from 2016 first priced Charlotte venues and come up with her total wedding budget. Then, by opting for a destination wedding instead, she spent about 40% less than she would have in her home town.
4. They want a truly unique wedding. I’ve had brides that are 3rd and 4th generation Charlotte natives. Between their older sisters weddings, their neighbors, their high school friends, etc., they have been to every known church and country club as a wedding guest. Sometimes, touring those same venues strikes them as “familiar” and they would rather have a wedding that is uniquely their own. Breaking the mold and opting for a tropical resort or cozy NC mountain lodge feels more personal and special to them than repeating all the same weddings they have already attended.
5. The couple plans to honeymoon nearby. Lia and Aled chose the island of Viques (off the coast of Puerto Rico) for their 2016 destination wedding. They wanted a smaller, more intimate guest count (see #1 above), they love to travel and wanted more experiences with their friends/family (see #2 above) and they wanted to see a few different islands on their honeymoon. So, they stayed at the wedding location for a few nights then moved on to another small island nearby.
6. The location is centralized to where guests are coming from. The biggest wedding our team has ever captured was in 2015 under the direction of David Tutera’s NY planning group. The bride was from the Northeast and the groom’s family lived all over the country (Colorado, FL, TX). Charlotte has a large airport with direct flights to nearly all of the major cities guests would be arriving from. They choose to work with the talented team at Ballantyne Hotel and Lodge because they could provide a full weekend of events for guests (golf course, day spa, pools, restaurants, several event locations). So, Charlotte, NC became the destination wedding location out of convenience and proximity. ( And it was FABULOUS by the way!)
Do these brides bring their own vendors? The answer is both yes and no. Every bride has her own set of priorities. Some don’t mind gambling on local vendors in a foreign country to provide their cake, florals, photography and videography (most resorts will encourage this type of package). BUT, Old South brides typically place photography as their #1 priority when wedding planning. They care too much about memories to take any chances so they bring our team along. They provide all travel (airfare, meals, cabs, etc.) for us to attend the event on top of our typical Wedding Collection fees. That way, we can also capture their engagement photos (in CLT), her bridal portraits (in CLT) and be trusted to capture the most amazing day of their lives (in a foreign country). We have captured weddings for Charlotte brides in St. Martin, the Dominican Republic, several locations in Mexico and Puerto Rico. We have also worked with Atlanta and Chicago brides getting married in the NC mountains or SC low country. We have had some of those brides also bring Charlotte wedding planners, hair/makeup teams and videographers but they will typically use at least some local vendors along the way.
Have cameras….will travel!!
Please join us again next Wednesday for a new topic. We so appreciate you following Old South on our blog, Instagram and Facebook. We LOVE happily ever afters!!